This is the next post in our series on the handling of parental abduction cases in Orange County, California. Our last article discussed when a parent’s conduct rises to the level of parental kidnapping. It is important to understand that the Courts will not get involved simply because a parent keeps a child slightly past their scheduled return time. If, however, the other parent is legitimately holding your young one then it is important to contact a family law attorney immediately. In this article we will discuss how to quickly obtain an Order for the return of the child. Contact our lawyers if you have questions.
If an offending parent is clearly refusing to return a child then the Courts will get involved. The first step is for your lawyer to file an emergency Motion with the Court requesting that an Order be issued which commands the child’s return and that law enforcement be ordered to assist in retrieving the child. Such an Order can typically be gained on an expedited basis. The Court will often schedule a hearing, to be held shortly after the Order has been signed, at which it will be determined whether the offending parent should be held in Contempt of Court. If the parent is held in contempt then they may face jail time, financial penalties, and they may be required to pay the other parent’s attorney’s fees.
Depending on the circumstances the Court may be willing to modify the parties’ current child custody arrangement after the child has been returned. If a parent attempts to frustrate the relationship which their counterpart enjoys with the child then their doing so is grounds of a modification. When deciding whether or not to modify custody the Court will look at several factors and determine what is in the child’s best interests. A lone instance of one refusing to return the child will likely not be sufficient reason to modify the custody order. If, however, there is an ongoing pattern of problems between the parties then the Court will likely entertain the request. When determining what is in the child’s best interests the Court will consider factors such as the young one’s wishes, the needs of the child, the ability of a parent to meet those needs, and whether a parent will continue to frustrate the child’s relationship with their ex. The best way to determine whether an act of keeping the child will warrant a modification is to discuss the matter with counsel.
Contact our office today to speak with an Orange County child custody lawyer. Our attorneys have handled many matters involving parental abduction and they will give you an honest assessment of your case. We are ready to assist you. Our Laguna Hills office also serves Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.